The chai sugar cookies from Little Flower Baking take the best parts of a warm chai tea and a soft sugar cookie and roll them into one perfect lightly spiced cookie. As all sugar cookies ought, they have soft, pillowy interiors paired with slightly crispy edges. It’s the combination of cream cheese, butter, and grapeseed oil (a light, neutral oil) that achieves this textural balance. A chilling period in the freezer immediately prior to baking gives the cookies time to set up so that they attain the appropriate loft and the rich, warm chai flavors. Beyond the (small) inconveniences of needing to have a few different fats on hand, to wait a little while after making the dough, and then to dip the dough in a sugar bath, these chai sugar cookies are as easy to make as any other cookie and a perfect addition to your fall/winter/holiday/cold weather baking plans.
Slightly adapted (so as to fix weight/volume discrepancies) from Little Flower Baking
Chai Sugar Cookies
- 1½ scant cups (300 g) granulated sugar divided
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (57 g) cream cheese softened
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 tablespoons (86 g) unsalted butter melted and still warm
- ⅓ cup (66 g) grapeseed oil
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups + 2 tablespoons (320 g) all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Cream the cream cheese, 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and the spices together on medium-low speed for 1 minute.
- Scrape down the bowl, then with the mixer on low, stream in the warm butter and mix for 30 seconds. Stream in the oil and mix for another 30 seconds.
- Add the egg, milk, and vanilla until combined and scraping down bowl.
- In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together with a fork to aerate and combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, then mix on low for only 30 seconds. Finishing incorporating the dry ingredients by folding with a rubber spatula.
- Place the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. Using a scoop that is 1.5 inches in diameter, form the dough into balls, roll in the sugar bowl to coat, and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Press gently with your palm to flatten the balls so they resemble hockey pucks, then freeze at least one hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 Bake the cookies straight from frozen, rotating the pan halfway through, until just golden at the edges with a pale center, about 14-15 minutes.
- Finished cookies will have cracked tops, be perfectly crunchy along the outside, and have a soft, chewy middle.
Frozen cookie dough can be kept for 2 weeks in an airtight container.